BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana National Guard personnel seeking benefits for same-sex spouses will have an easier time filing the requests, despite a state refusal to let its workers process the paperwork.

National Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Mike Kazmierzak said Thursday that employees at National Guard sites in Louisiana are being given federal status to allow for handling the benefit enrollment requests for same-sex couples.

Kazmierzak says the move will keep state employees from violating Louisiana's ban on gay marriage. But it also will put Louisiana more in line with a Pentagon directive authorizing the same-sex benefits.

Previously, the Louisiana National Guard had been requiring people seeking the same-sex benefits to file the paperwork with federal military installations around the state for processing, a requirement that could force long trips to the closest site.

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